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Microtonal and Xenharmonic Music:
Thunder, Perfect MindAnyone else interested in this field of music? Of all the available avenues in classical, popular and alternative/indie music, this one seems to be one of the least explored, which I have always found deeply disappointing. Maybe I should start with an explanation, or at least supply a Wikipedia article or two...
edited 10th Mar '11 8:14:09 PM by JHM
I'm only familiar with some of Harry Partch's work. I enjoy it, but haven't put much focus into it. I've been looking into more electroacoustic music recetly, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that my recording professor is also an elctroacoustic composer for a lot of his works.
edited 10th Mar '11 8:34:47 PM by Thenamelesssamurai
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DUMBI like Syzygys. As I understand, it's more difficult for regular notions of harmony/multiple voices/etc. to work outside of 12-TET, meaning you basically have to rewrite music theory almost from the ground up for each tuning system. That plus the lack of returns means little music.
Slayer of ThreadsOne area I haven't explored much myself, actually. There are microtonal elements in the works of a variety of composers I listen to — quarter-tones from Bartók to Xenakis, more subtle gradations yet in Stockhausen, untempered natural harmonics and whatnot in Ligeti, plus the whole concept of spectralism — but I've never really heard much that was written specifically for non-12TET systems. Perhaps with good reason — such things are quite hard to realise — but it's an area I'll look into in more detail at some point.
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Feels Good, ManI'm having a hard enough time grasping vanilla music theory. This sort of esoterica is beyond me.
Thunder, Perfect MindYou don't have to know the theory to enjoy the music, though it's always a plus.
A form of microtone known as the blue note is an integral part of rock music and its predecessor, blues. The blue notes, located on the third, fifth, and seventh notes of a diatonic major scale, are flattened by an inexact amount, generally less than a semitone. The flattened fifth is also known as the sharpened fourth (Ferguson 1999, 20).Hey, I listen to rock music
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Thunder, Perfect MindWe're talking about extensive use of microtonality, or, to take a different tact, fundamentally alien or exotic harmony: Gamelan, avant-garde classical, very early blues, traditional Middle Eastern music, and so forth. There is some rock and pop music like that, though: Black Flag's "Damaged II", for example, or the string parts in Radiohead's "Climbing Up the Walls".
edited 12th Mar '11 6:22:33 PM by JHM
Laugh it off, everybodyWhat's the difference between this and 'normal' music?
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Thunder, Perfect MindHere's a fairly mellow example, just using quarter-tones:
edited 12th Mar '11 6:39:14 PM by JHM
Thunder, Perfect MindAnd here's something a bit... stranger, conceptually and sonically:
AXTUCE MUN AXTE INCALWeird, I think I liked the second one more than the first.
I'm A Dirty CowboyMe Too. Perhaps because the intention of the second one was spelled out more clearly, whereas the intentions of the first are less clear.
Thunder, Perfect MindWell, the second is simply an adaptation of an early baroque piece — a very recognisable one, to wit — into a different tuning. What makes it unusual is that said tuning is based not in octaves, but in tritaves (octave-and-a-fifths), with the timbre of the instruments altered to permit more consonant harmony. The first, however, is an original sonata using quarter-tone harmony, which is jarring because it is simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar — what constitutes consonance and dissonance is thrown totally out of whack. Furthermore, it uses the natural timbre and overtones of the instrument, meaning that said dissonances are, well, dissonant. And weird. When all is said and done, I prefer the first piece, but only because I've become accustomed to that kind of weirdness; were I going into this as someone new, I'd probably be more inclined towards the latter.
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